Nirvana

(Photo: Chris Cuffaro)

10 Of The Best Music Documentaries To Stream Right Now

If you're looking to freshen up your queue, you've come to the right place.

February 20, 2018
Categories: 

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and more are full of movies about music. Some fictional flicks provide a nice laugh and take on the music scene. However, some of the most compelling features are their collection of music documentaries. Here are our top 10 music documentaries for you to stream.

Marley (2012)

This documentary received high praise with 3.5/5 stars on Netflix and 7.8/10 stars on IMDB. The content traces Bob Marley’s life from his early days through his journey to international super-stardom. The film was produced with the support and help of the Marley family, using rare footage and outstanding performances, as well as interviews with his closest loved ones. The documentary opens viewer’s eyes to his complete impact on music history and his role as a social and political ambassador.

How to Grow a Band (2011)

Chris Thile’s journey to reinvent himself is chronicled in this documentary. Thile is 26 and his marriage has collapsed. On top of it all, his former platinum-selling band Nickel Creek has parted ways. The film follows the story as he begins to tour with a new band, Punch Brothers.

Pearl Jam Twenty (2011)

Pearl Jam celebrates its 20th anniversary with this documentary that illustrates the group’s tumultuous music history. The storyline traces the years leading up to the band’s formation, the struggles that arose after their rise to mega-stardom, and the forces that held them together despite conflict. The film is filled with bold colors and sounds, and an assortment of rarely seen and never before seen footage spanning the band’s entire career. PJ 20 is a testimonial to the power of admirable and influential music.

Pink Floyd: The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon (2003)

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, the classic 1973 album by Pink Floyd remained on the Billboard 200 for an amazing 741 consecutive weeks. This documentary outlines the album track-by-track, including interviews with band members Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright. The discussions reveal unique studio-specific techniques used to create specific sounds and effects featured on the album.

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon (2011)

In 2002 Nathan, Caleb and Jared Followill, three brothers, along with their cousin Matthew, joined forces to create a grungy alternative rock band based in the deep south. The boys came from very humble beginnings, living much of their lives in poverty. The brothers’ young lives were spent living in the back of an Oldsmobile while touring from church to church with their preacher father. The anchor to this intriguing documentary takes place during the annual family reunion in the backwoods of Talihina, Tennessee. The film, as a whole, reveals the honest and bold discovery of what stimulated these budding rock legends.

When You’re Strange (2009)

This documentary is composed entirely of footage from 1966 to 1971, paying tribute to The Doors. The Doors music emulated the social and political disorder of the early ‘60s and ‘70s, although still appealing to a current audience over time. The film includes unique footage from Paul Ferrara, a filmmaker who became friends with Jim Morrison while attending UCLA. When You’re Strange also includes excerpts from a short film Morrison directed in 1969. This documentary unravels the tale of The Doors from an exclusive standpoint. Johnny Depp narrates.

Beyonce: Baby and Beyond (2013)

Maybe she is not an XRT artist, but Beyonce is full of inspiration, and so is her recent documentary. Described as a “superstar with no limits,” this film traces Beyonce’s history from her time as a member of Destiny’s Child to her relationship with Jay-Z and birth of their baby girl, Blue Ivy. The documentary is filled with exclusive interviews from family members and close friends, providing an extensive look into what drives this powerful and influential woman.

Kill Your Idols (2004)

This documentary focuses on the punk pioneers of the 1970’s and early ‘80s like Sonic Youth and Iggy Pop. This era of music, labeled the no wave scene, was most concerned with challenging listeners rather than producing music that they would make people dance. These artists wanted to create something unique and transgressive. The film traces the anti-commercial artists of the time with their radio-friendly, mainstream counterparts.

Nirvana: Nevermind (2005)

This rockumentary features Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl’s insights on the group’s recording of 1991’s Nevermind, as well as touching on the group’s dazzling, momentary career. Although much of Nirvana’s video footage has been released previously, this documentary features some new clips and live performances that have never been seen before. The early innocence of the band is compared to its turbulent end, leading to Kurt Cobain’s suicide, which the film does not outwardly mention.

Janis (1974)

This documentary consists only of archival footage of Janis Joplin, including rehearsals, appearances and footage from her 1969 Woodstock performance. The storyline traces Janis’ rise (and fall) to super-stardom from her Texas origins.